By Allan Cerf
It’s Anthony Joshua vs. Carlos Takam, October 28, live, Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales and Showtime.
Background: Call the newspapers – Putin, the National Guard, stop the presses – a heavyweight has withdrawn from a fight because of injury. Has this ever happened in the history of boxing? Sorry – I fell asleep for a moment…
Pulev’s injury on the eve of providing a possible stern test – aside from the fact that the talented Bulgarian mysteriously threw away years of his career despite a single setback – a concussive one to Dr. Steel Hammer - and we’ve gone from a fighter with pretty tremendous skills as opponent, to a ‘prizefighter,’ a guy without title pretensions; ‘merely’ fighting for a living.
Does Pulev’s injury have politics or other intrigue behind it? Meaning- okay, he’s injured but could the show have gone on? YES. I do see question marks about Pulev’s withdrawing – they’re marching before my eyes like those spots when you drink too much.
Scorecards: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Age, Stamina, Experience)
Joshua: A A B- A B B+ B+ (Average of all) B+
Takam: C B- C B C- C+ B- Average of all) C+
Joshua: Covered before at length. With each passing second, the intelligent, likeable Joshua is mastering “media-speak,” saying all the right things to endear him the more to – well, everyone.
Takam: Personal details unknown. Some English, perfect French.
Reality Check: It is probably nothing – I’m not being snide- oh hell; I’m being snide. Joshua’s curious remarks about the fight going 10-12 because of Takam’s “cement” head, are strange. This begs the question: was he somewhat unprepared for Pulev? Because while it’s deplorable to pay a fighter to step aside, it’s supposed to be done openly – although reasons given are usually phony. If Pulev is not injured, then paying him to appear so is a very serious thing. I’m only reasonably confident this is not the case.
Scary when intelligent men like Carl Froch are saying Takam is a better opponent for the fans. Maybe for American fans- but British fans know the game and would surely want to see the far more skilled Pulev fight Joshua. Talk about fake news.
Takam was stopped by Povetkin in Russia. He’s muscular and his muscles are not the product of mysterious supplements – his slight belly proves that. But he’s muscular in the bad sense, in that weight lifting is usually all-wrong for boxers. Carlos is muscle-bound and throws less than swift punches. Not a born boxer, but a very strong dude from a small African state, turned years ago into a boxer – nothing wrong with that. His punches are left and right hooks. He does do decent body work. He gave “the other” heavyweight champion of the world, Joseph Parker, hell, though Parker prevailed. A left-handed compliment? Sort of.
Fight and Prediction: Ignore the hype. As my editor doesn’t drink GGG Kool-Aid, nor do I drink Joshua soda. But he has a lot of talent. Joshua wins by KO. The fight won’t go seven rounds. A plague on the house of Hearn for this very rotten egg.